Modern Evangelism

“God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life.”
“Ask Jesus in your heart.”
“Accept Christ.”
“Make a decision for Christ.”
“Make Jesus Lord.” (As if He’s not already.)
and my personal favorite,
“Say ‘yes’ to God and we will have (world) peace!”

Ok, now it is time to stir the pot and get controversial! Actually, that is not my intention. I do hope to encourage my brothers and sisters in Christ who are evangelists, and who work to labor in the harvest, sowing the good seed of the Word of God in our area. I hope to encourage you in your laboring as ambassadors of Christ.

I did not get saved ‘hearing’ the gospel in church or on the street, but by ‘hearing it’ by reading it in my bible in my room, all by myself. But someone mailed me that bible, sowing the word to me, which the Lord planted in the good soil that He had prepared, to His glory. The Lord used several passages of scripture in His gathering of me, a little sheep, into His flock. One was the first three chapters of John. One was John 14:6. And the last was Isaiah 53:6. This last verse was the text that the Lord used to bring me to repentance. Finally seeing and being convicted of my personal sin against our holy God, I cried out in repentance to Him, calling upon His name to have mercy on me and forgive my iniquity and save me. Suddenly I had faith in Jesus Christ. This was solely an act of God the Father, and the Holy Spirit, through the Word. Then I was trained in modern evangelical evangelism.

Over the last few years I have been thinking and studying a lot about methods of evangelism, but mostly about the message of the gospel. The gospel message I use now, is very different from the one I was trained in, many years ago as a babe in Christ.

Things are happening in the American church. I’ll let you do your own research. Movements are gaining popularity here that have at its core, a compromised gospel message, which is not the gospel at all. This compromise is accepted in order to achieve the goal of success: huge, popular earthly kingdoms churches, which are appealing to the world, and which, unfortunately, serve the world, and the world’s purposes, rather than Christ and His flock.

I was at a burger joint a few months ago with my youngest. We were getting a burger after his ice hockey class one Saturday evening. There happened to be there, an elder of our previous church of 20 years. We had left a year and a half ago, after many years of considering this decision.

After some friendly chat about how our families are doing, I finally got up the nerve to ask him, (practically choking), “So, how is the ‘Vision 2010’ thing going?”
To my utter shock, he perked up, smiled and proceeded to tell me how excited they were, because the staff just came back from a ‘how to do church’ conference in which they learned how to ‘do church’ a new way. He went on to describe that they were making the decsision to enact this method of church, and explained that it involved remote buildings, perhaps on a campus, far away; miles, from the hosting church. The remote venues would each have their own building for worship, and people could choose which one they wanted to go to. I had never heard of this before. I asked him why the different buildings, why not have everyone worship together, and he informed me that it is so everyone can have the music they want. He said the sermon would be broadcast (sattelite or microwave) from the original, broadcasting church, to the remote venues, and everybody would hear the same sermon, live.

He went on to say that these would not be new or different churches, but all the people of those remote venues would be counted to the pastor of the broadcasting church. You know, like, if the broadcasting church has 1500, and the remote venues have 2500, then that church will now be said to have have 4000. I sat quitely, listening. He went on to say, “Yea I know, it’s marketing, yea, it’s commericalism, but hey, that’s the world, that’s what the world is doing, so we need to do that. But it’s good because then we will have success.”

I asked him what ‘success’ was.
“Numbers!” He blurted out enthusiatically, without even skipping a beat.
“But it’s good, because they will hear the gospel.”
I nodded silently. The Lord held my tongue.

Well the conversation kind of ended there as I sat in silence and then we mumbled our goodbyes and well wishes to each other.

My mind turned to the gospel presentation of Christmas 2005 where a false, man centered and ‘world centered’ gospel was preached. As the elder left, I sat hoping for the sake of all involved, that the thousands who will fill these remote venues, will not hear the Bill Hybels/Rick Warren gospel of happiness, psychology, and world peace, but the true gospel of the glory of Jesus Christ.

If you love preaching the true gospel, this sermon will thrill your heart. If you are learning how to share your faith, this will greatly help and encourage you. May you be blessed in listening.

From the Sermon (click link below):

    For many in today’s evangelical church, the gospel has been reduced to idioms such as, “Jesus loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life,” “Jesus died for you,” or “invite Jesus into your heart,” or “come to Jesus and He will take care of your problem.” But what does the Bible have to say about any of these ideas? How does a Biblical understanding of the gospel differ from what is being put forth as evangelism by the modern church? By selling another gospel to Christians of this age, Satan has been employing many sincere men to pitch a man-centered half-gospel that turns out to be no gospel at all.
    Sermon: The Errors of Modern Evangelism

Related articles:
Costly Gospel, cheap Gospel, False Gospel

Modern message vs the Master’s message

Educate Me

The Power of the Gospel

The Power of the Holy Spirit

Presenting the Gospel

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15 thoughts on “Modern Evangelism

  1. Dear Loretta,
    You say “I cried out in repentance to Him, calling upon His name to have mercy on me and forgive my iniquity and save me.” You’ve just described praying the “Sinner’s Prayer” for salvation. That’s not how the Bible describes conversion.

  2. Hi Thomas. God led me to repentance and faith in Christ and His work on the cross to attone for my sins. God Himself did this in me. I said to God, “oh God I’ve sinned against You, have mercy and forgive me!” God made this happen. It is kind of hard to describe the experience, isn’t it? And as it turns out, Jesus and the apostles preached repentance and faith. Whoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. I know this happened after He did the spiritual work in me, by His Spirit. Hope that helps clarify. : )
    love,
    Loretta

  3. Loretta,
    You’re misusing Romans 10:13. This verse means that Christians will be saved whether Jew or Gentile. It’s not telling the way to be saved. The next verse, Romans 10:14, shows that salvation is by faith, not prayer. Compare Acts 9:14, 1 Corinthians 1:2, 2 Timothy 2:22. The phrase “who call on the name of the Lord” is a figure of speech in the Bible which means “a true worshipper of God in Christ.”

  4. ok. Thanks for the lesson, I appreciate it. Yes. My conversion experience did not include actual “prayer” in that sense. It was not a decision. It was not a choice. God convicted me of my sin. God lead me to repentance, contrition, and faith. How would you describe it? God converted me and I had repentance and faith- all of a sudden! As I read the gospel in Word of God. The word of God converted me. I did not know what hit me. God intervened and took over my life. I heard the voice of the Shepherd calling me to follow Him. I suddenly had faith. I knew He saved me. Nobody told me to do anything.

    The idea I am focusing on here in this article is the importance of a Christ centered and God glorifying biblical gospel message in evangelism, rather than a man centered humanistic message which makes evangelism and salvation all about the happiness of man, rather than the glory of God.

  5. Thomas, since the Lord gathered me in through the reading of the gospel in His Word, but then I was trained in using a modern/humanistic evangelistic message; that is why I am interested in learning how to biblically share the gospel to others, when I speak to them. That is why this sermon above was so helpful to me, and I thought I’d pass it on.
    much love, Loretta

  6. Loretta,
    Thanks for referring me to this message by Joseph LoSardo. I thought it was very good, but at the end there were some things left unsaid. Like the fact that we are unable to believe the gospel unless we are enabled by God. We can seek salvation through God’s drawing us, but we can’t believe unless He decides to “come and shower righteousness on us” (from Hosea 10:12). It takes a miracle to save us comparable to raising Christ from the grave, right? And the timing will be God’s, not ours, right?
    I’ll try to see if Mr. LoSardo tells us these things in another of his messages.

    Love in Christ,
    Thomas

  7. hi Thomas! Guess what. These doctrines of grace are very new to me, and I’ve been a believer for 22 years. You heard that right: they are new to me.
    I believe as you do. So I am not arguing with you at all, nor debating.

    This is not a theology blog. I’m just a small sheep, and I have a lot to learn. Yes, this is a theological issue, the issue of man centered gospel vs. God centered gospel, and it does need to be addressed if we want to learn about biblical evangelism that is more concerned with honoring God than “what works” (pragmatism). I am hoping to encourage the brethren in evangelism and in the Christian walk. There are two types of believers I’m mainly addressing: the one who is already an active evangelist, and needs encouragement, especially here in this mission field of the San Francisco area, and also, the one who is just getting started in sharing their faith, and needs encouragement, ideas and training.
    May God bless you.
    Loretta

  8. I just listened to this sermon again carefully, and I just want to say about the last 7 minutes, which are a must listen:
    amen, hallelujah and praise God! …to what the pastor says here. This is truth, and good instruction on sharing/proclaiming the gospel.

  9. Loretta,
    I’m one who is just getting started ( I mean I don’t seem to have success) in sharing my faith, and need encouragement, ideas and training. I’ve got children ages two and three, and I hope to point them to Christ as they grow up, with God’s blessing, I hope. I’m hoping to home school them, because the public school system seems to be opposed to God. I don’t know of any religious schools in my area that I would trust either. The sinner’s prayer is very popular these days, as you well know.
    I’ve just tried to share my faith with my relatives mainly. I don’t know if anyone has benefitted from it, but that’s up to God anyway. I feel that I have a duty to discuss salvation with my family. Beyond that, I don’t know. If I had friends or co-workers I would discuss it with them. I’m raising these kids fulltime. My sister is a missionary, but I don’t think God has sent her. I don’t believe she’s ever been converted. She practically admitted it to me in private.

  10. Well I’m glad you are here! I hope you find this place helpful. My children are “tweens” and I’ve always homeschooled and/or had them in Christian school. School/education is quite a topic, on it’s own. (!) Yes, the sinner’s prayer is popular, I am familiar with it. But I know God saved me without it, through the power of the biblical gospel. And looking at the scriptures, at the gospel in the bible, at what Jesus said and what the apostles said when they preached, it’s not there(the sinner’s prayer or making a decision for Christ). God saves through the power of the gospel. The gospel does not need any ‘help’ or ‘gimmicks’.

    God gives us opportunities for us to share the gospel, and He leads us and empowers us by His Spirit to do so. If the Lord leads you to share the gospel (the gospel that honors Him and exalts Christ) with your relatives, or anyone else, you are ‘successful’ because you have done what He has led you to do. It is Him doing the work, through you, and regardless of the response of the person, God will be glorified. This is a very sobering and humbling and awesome thing.

    You carry the message. The result is up to God. It is His work. So don’t worry about being ‘successful’. The Word, the gospel, is successful in the purpose for which God sends it, which He wills. Just be obedient and trust Him and follow Him, and give Him the glory.

    Here’s a little example from my life. I have dear relatives who have been hearing the gospel from me for 20 years and they are as lost as they have ever been. The good seeds just bounced off the rock hard soil. I have had conversations with people I have met once – strangers- who were prepared by God(good soil) just for that moment, and they heard the gospel and I watched, amazed, as God worked repentance and faith in them before my eyes. Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass (He will do it). 1Thes. 5:24.

  11. Loretta,
    Thanks for your encouragement and good information. You said “God worked repentance and faith in them before my eyes.” Is it okay to ask for more details? What were the evidences that God had worked repentance and faith in them?

    In Christ,
    Thomas Thorpe

  12. Here’s a story. It’s only half the story though. : ) This was a few years ago. God arranged a divine appointment, and God gave the opportunity to share the gospel with a man originally from another country. I could see the look on his face(conviction) when he was listening about the holiness of God and the law as I went over the law in detail, giving explanation of God’s law. (And also all the other parts of the gospel the pastor in this sermon mentions in the sermon I posted.) After hearing the good news of the gospel, the man exclaimed, “I believe! I believe in Jesus Christ!” I gave him a paperback English NT and he opened it up immediately and began to read it. He was so excited to get this bible. Then he asked me, pleading, to pray for his wife, who would be very angry when she found out that he had become a Christian, and he asked me to pray that as he shared the gospel with her, that she would also turn to Christ and leave the false god and false religion. That sure seemes like repentance and faith to me! Later I got him a whole bible in his original language. He came to church with us a few times, without his wife (he worked on our side of the bay on Sundays), and eventually told me that he was going to find a church in the east bay, closer to where he lived. (Actually, what he also said, to my shock, was that he wanted to find a “real” church, but that is another subject. That was a strange, reality check moment for me, indeed.) But I praise God and pray for him and pray that his wife has also come to Christ. His name is Abit.

  13. Hi , What Loretta is describing is similar to what happened to me, I have so called also ‘accepted Jesus’ through a modern ewangelism crusade in my teens, but its only in the last few months in my late adult life that I can say truly that I am saved. And it was not a decison I made, nor I prayer I followed. I came under conviction of sin one time on my bed, I wailed and agonised for days over my guilt and sin and kept asking God to save me finally after some time in that conviction of sin I knew Christ had taken my sins away on the cross, and becuase he had done it I was only then able to truly repent and believe onto salvation. I had been saved by the mercy of of God’s sovereign grace in Christ

  14. Jerry thanks for sending in your testimony! That was truly edifying. I believe this is how regeneration really happens with all those who are truly Christ’s. God bless you.

  15. Hi Loretta,
    Paul Washer has a lot to say about regeneration and the assurance of salvation based on the Word of God. For sure if you listen to this man of God, you will be edified. Paul Washer’s messages centers on the glory of God. He also condemns the loopholes and errors of Modern Day Evangelism that led millions away from the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. God bless you sister.

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